PPP: Program hurt by careless ‘news’

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This refers to Daxim L. Lucas’ Biz Buzz article titled “PPP’s perfect attendance” (Inquirer, 2/11/13). Allow us to clarify certain statements. Indeed, on Feb. 8, 2013, the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) held a meeting. However, its main agenda was the opening toll rate of the Naia Expressway project. PPP Center Executive Director Cosette V. Canilao was present to provide assistance in replying to the board’s queries. Contrary to what was stated in that article, Neda Deputy Director General Nestor Mijares, as the Neda chief’s representative, was in attendance.

The article also stated that the Daang Hari project is delayed for two years. The project was only awarded in December 2011. The detailed engineering design was completed eight months later, which is typical for such projects under PPP. The project consists of two segments: As of Jan. 25, 2013, 29.50 percent of Segment 1, which was started in September 2012, has been completed. (Please visit our website at www.ppp.gov.ph for a more comprehensive and detailed accomplishment report on the Daang Hari project.)

Insinuation was also made that the PPP Center favors one proponent for the NLEx-SLEx Connector Road/Manila Skyway Stage 3 projects. To clarify, Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp. was given until Feb. 15 to sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Citra, prescribing the common alignment and terms for the Skyway Stage 3 and the Connector Road. The common alignment refers to the 5.5-kilometer stretch from the end of Skyway at Buendia to the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa. The MOA should cover the terms and conditions regarding their respective rights and obligations on the design, construction and operation and maintenance of the common alignment. This agreement will form part of the terms of the Swiss challenge of the Connector Road project.

As to the Harbor Link Roadway project of the Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC), that is a PPP project using the Joint Venture (JV) model. As per Executive Order No. 8, the PPP Center is mandated to facilitate and coordinate all PPP projects of government, including JVs.

The PPP program’s success is largely based on the confidence of the private sector to do business with government. Even as the PPP Center welcomes suggestions, comments and criticisms, we find such careless and duplicitous information that is casually bandied about as “news” unfair. This derails government’s carefully built economic foundations anchored on the tenets of good governance, transparency and accountability.

In order to provide the Inquirer and the public more in-depth information on the PPP program and the processes that go with it, we are more than willing to provide Inquirer officials, editors and staff a briefing on the PPP program at the Inquirer office. We will follow up on the Inquirer’s availability soon after and schedule this accordingly.

At the same time the PPP Center will strive harder to provide the Inquirer with all the information that it requires to help deliver clear, unbiased and fair reporting.

—ELEAZAR E. RICOTE, director
Capacity Development  & Knowledge Management Service
Public-Private Partnership Center

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